Air Sealing - Number One Pre-requisite For An Energy Efficient And Comfortable Home.

Benefits

While nobody will drive past your house and say, “Wow, look at that beautifully sealed building envelope” you will enjoy the benefits of greater comfort, a healthier indoor environment, improved durability and reduced heating and cooling costs.

The majority of today's homes have air leaks throughout them that contribute to energy waste a little bit at a time. While most of the air leaks in your home's attic, basement, and around windows and doors are small, they may add up to the equivalent of leaving a window open 24/7, or even more!

Why do I need to air seal? I thought all I needed to do was add more insulation.

Insulation is like a fuzzy wool sweater on a winter day. It will certainly keep you warm if the air is calm. But, if the wind picks up, you are going to need a windbreaker to keep the breeze from carrying away the heat. Air sealing is like adding the windbreaker. It keeps the conditioned air where it belongs.

Air leakage

Air leakage occurs when outside air enters and conditioned air leaves your house uncontrollably through cracks and openings – often through places like garages, old or dirty insulation and basements.

The old adage was that the house had to “breathe”.  But that is looking at the problem the wrong way.  Rather than deliberately leaking air in uncontrolled manner, through places you would rather not have it go and creating drafts, we want to seal the house and ventilate it correctly.

 

“Seal tight, ventilate right “

It is unwise to rely on air leakage for ventilation. During cold or windy weather, too much air may enter the house. The result is that the heating system will work harder than it should and you feel uncomfortable drafts.  When it's warmer and less windy, not enough air may enter, which can result in poor indoor air quality.  Indoor Air Quality (or IAQ) is a major factor in comfort levels and in the healthiness of your house.

Air leakage also contributes to moisture problems that can affect occupants’ health and the structure’s durability.

One added benefit is that sealing cracks and openings reduces drafts and cold spots, improving comfort. 

Another is that insulation that has air flowing through it not only gets dirty, it loses a lot of its insulating properties.  Air sealing restores the insulating capacity.  This is so important that both BPI* and the NJ Clean Energy Program mandate air sealing before installing additional insulation under their programs.

Find the leaks first

Every house is different.  You know the drafty corners and we generally know where to look for air leaks (see diagram below).  We always carry out a blower door test first; to get a number to compare your house to the standards set by BPI*, and to pinpoint specific leakage areas.  That way we carry out air sealing tailored to your house.

We also do a blower door test during our “test-out” when the work is complete.  That lets us measure how much difference we made, and to make sure there is still sufficient ventilation.

We do it right

Air sealing is a job that requires focus, attention and an unbending attitude.  Our air-sealers have the focus and attention to detail that the job requires. 

We pull up existing insulation in attics to seal the tops of exterior and interior walls.  We seal the foundation rim joist – just a 1/16th of an inch gap running 10 feet or so adds up to a sizable hole.  We seal around plumbing penetrations – a floor opening around a bathroom trap can leak as much air as an open window.  And we pay special attention to the garage; you do not want the stuff typically stored in the garage; fuel, paint or pesticides, leaking into your house.

How to get started

For a comprehensive home energy audit and the services to improve your comfort and energy efficiency in the Morris, Passaic and Bergen county areas of New Jersey please contact us and speak to one of our advisors or auditors. 

Home Energy Matters - 410 State Route 23 - Pompton Plains NJ 07444 - (973)492-1890